Tactics That Will Help You Persuade and Influence People

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Persuasiveness is one of the most important skills anyone can learn because it is useful in countless situations. At work, at home, and in your social life, the ability to be persuasive and influence others can be instrumental for achieving goals and being happy.

Learning about the tricks of persuasion can also give you insight into when they’re being used on you. The biggest benefit of this is that money will stay in your pockets as you realize just how sales people and advertisers sell you products that you don’t necessarily need.

Here are 9 of the best tricks to be persuasive and influence others:

Framing

Framing is a technique often used in politics.

A popular example of framing is inheritance taxes. Politicians who are opposed to inheritance taxes will call them death taxes. By using the word death instead of inheritance, all kinds of negative connotations come to mind.

Framing is quite subtle, but by using emotionally charged words, like death, you can easily persuade people to your point of view.

Mirroring

Mirroring someone is when you mimic their movements. The movement can be virtually anything, but some obvious ones are hand gestures, leaning forward or away, or various head and arm movements. We all do this unconsciously, and if you pay attention you’ll probably notice yourself doing it, I know I have.

How to mirror someone is self explanatory, but a few key things to remember are to be subtle about it and leave a delay between the other person’s movement and your mirroring, 2-4 seconds works best.

Scarcity

This is one that advertisers use a lot. Opportunities, whatever they are, seem a lot more appealing when there is a limited availability.

This can be useful to the average person in the right situation, but even more importantly, this is a method of persuasion to be aware of. Stop and consider how much you’re being influenced by the fact that a product is scarce. If the product is scarce, there must be a ton of demand for it right?

Reciprocation

It’s the old saying, “Do unto others…”. When someone does something for us, we feel compelled to return the favor. So, if you want someone to do something nice for you, why not do something nice for them first. In a business setting, maybe you pass them a lead. If at home, maybe it’s you letting the neighbor borrow the lawn mower. It doesn’t matter where or when you do it, the key is to compliment the relationship.

Timing

People are more likely to be agreeable and submissive when they’re mentally fatigued. Before you ask someone for something they might not be quick to agree to, try waiting until a more opportune time when they’ve just done something mentally taxing. This could be at the end of the work day when you catch a co-worker on their way out the door. Whatever you ask, a likely response is, “I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”

Congruence

We all try, subconsciously, to be consistent with previous actions. One great example is a technique used by salespeople. A salesperson will shake your hand as he is negotiating with you. In most peoples minds, a handshake equates to a closed deal, and so by doing this before the deal is reached, the salesperson is much more likely to negotiate you in to a closed deal.

A good way to use this yourself is to get people acting before they make up their minds. If, for example, you were out and about with a friend and you wanted to go see a movie but the friend was undecided, you could start walking in the direction of the theater while they make up their mind.

Fluid Speech

When we talk, we often use little interjections and hesitant phrases such as “ummm” or “I mean” and of course there is the ubiquitous “like”. These little conversation quirks have the unintended effect of making us seem less confident and sure of ourselves, and thus less persuasive.

If you’re confident in your speech, others will be more easily persuaded by what you have to say.

Herd Behavior

We are all natural born followers. It’s sad but true. We constantly look to those around us to determine our actions; we have the need for acceptance.

A simple, effective way to use this to your advantage is to be a leader, let the herd follow you.

Friends and Authorities

We are far more likely to follow or be persuaded by someone we like or by someone who is in an authority position. Not only is this a good one to be aware of to combat persuasive techniques being used on you, it’s also a good one to use on others because you would be surprised how easy it is to get people to like you and establish authority within groups.

Give some of these ideas a shot and let us know if you are suddenly selling more, having more favors done for you, or becoming a master of delegation and persuasion at work!

Written on 8/28/2008 by Stuart M. Stuart blogs at Improved Lives and is a recent university graduate and a writer who has always had a passion for learning about how psychology can be beneficial in day to day life. Republished 8/17/2011 Photo Credit: fredcamino
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